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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Power of Choice at Bancroft Elementary Part III: Where's the fat?

This winter, DC SCORES intern Kara Dunford is spending her afternoons at Bancroft Elementary School as the Bengals take part in Winter SCORES. Each week, Kara is writing about her experience observing and interacting with the students as they learn about nutrition and healthy eating habits through the Power of Choice curriculum. You can also follow Kara’s observations on Twitter and Instagram by searching #WinterSCORES. View photos on Flickr


Written by Kara Dunford 
Communications Intern

Coaches at Bancroft Elementary School distributed a variety of snack items to the students, who watched as carrot sticks, cookies, yogurt and more were placed in front of them.

“How many of you had a snack today?” one of the coaches asked. Nearly every hand in the room was soon raised, and students happily announced their choice of snacks.

Since snacking was deemed to be a popular activity, the coaches were ready to arm their students with the knowledge to choose healthy food items to munch on.

“Who remembers how to tell how much fat is in a snack?”

I was impressed as the students recalled information from previous weeks, remembering their lessons about nutrition labels and percent daily value figures.

The students knew to look for the numbers, but what does fat look like? We were about to find out.

Armed with a variety of snack items and paper towels, the students set to work to provide the group with a visual of the fat contained in some of their favorite foods. Rubbing the paper towel over the food caused some items to leave greasy marks, while others did not. Chips, cookies, chocolate, cheese, and peanut butter left the paper quite dirty, revealing their solid fat content in the process.

The students learned that foods with high levels of solid fat provide few other nutrients that are necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Snacking on items low in fat, like fruits and vegetables, can help provide the body with its required food energy and nutrients.

The Bengals will probably not go around rubbing paper towel over each of their food choices. When combined with the knowledge about nutrient labels, however, the visual of solid fat can help steer the students toward healthy snacks.

While the students were preparing the day’s healthy snack -- fruit and vegetable roll-ups -- I had the chance to chat with Coach Guzman about his team’s winter SCORES experience.

Coach Guzman echoed a sentiment I had about the students: while hesitant to embrace the nutrition curriculum at first, the Bengals soon looked forward to the lessons in healthy lifestyles and seemed eager to implement the lessons in their own lives.

“I like that the curriculum provides both access to nutrition and the opportunity to play soccer after school,” Guzman said. “It highlights both components to living a healthy life.”

Guzman said he hopes his students continue to remember the lessons learned in the classroom as we look toward the spring season. If last week’s discussion of the previous lessons on nutrition labels are any indication, the Bengals are on the right track.

Check out the third video installment to hear from one of Bancroft’s coaches. Be sure to follow along during the last week of winter programming on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #winterSCORES.

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